Being Davanté

      Michelle St. Claire
Being Davanté

Davanté's heart sinks to the lowest of depths. He cannot lose his mother now. He is only seventeen years old. He has not learned enough about life to be on his own. He does not know how to live. To add to his grief, his long lost father re-emerges in his life with an agenda to make amends.Through a journey of pain, Davanté learns to forgive. He learns to love again. He learns to live anewDavanté Williams senses his mother slipping away. As her only child, he can easily discern between the usual buoyancy of his mother’s spirit and the now weakened trace that is leaving. Davanté’s skin prickles as the shadows of loneliness threaten. He cannot lose her now. He is too young. Barely seventeen. An almost-man.Mother moves on, leaving Davanté to struggle with grief. He shuffles through his last senior classes like a ghost trapped between two realities. In one, he must muster his energies to prepare his senior project for graduation. In the other reality, he reminisces over his mother and wonders about her secretive and tragic past.Love keeps Davanté afloat despite his trials. The love of true friendship. Family. Perfect strangers. His art: the colorful graphic works made from his hands. All work to hold Davanté in place.That is, until his mysterious father surfaces. A man of a dark past. An ex-convict. A rumored murderer. Davanté’s father swiftly becomes a thorn in Davanté’s side. His father wants to amend and make new, but Davanté is having none of it.He lashes out. He rebels. He pushes his father away. Love, he cannot push away so readily. It wraps itself around Davanté again, reminding him of who is, where he is from, and where he should be going.Eventually, Davanté learns to forgive. He learns to love. He learns to live anew.
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    My Name is Marisol

      Michelle St. Claire
My Name is Marisol

My name is Marisol Vega. I am Latina. Beautiful. Mesmerizing. A young mermaid filled with intrigue and power. A thinker of profound truths. A speaker of words like stone and fire. I relish the thought of using my prose to bravely reveal secrets. Dangerous secrets of the Colombian government, of fanatic warlords and of my father's untimely demise.My name is Marisol Vega. I am Latina. Beautiful. Mesmerizing. A young mermaid filled with intrigue and power. A thinker of profound truths. A speaker of words like stone and fire. Yet no one hears me. My brothers scoff at me. They put their hands over their ears when I open my mouth. They forsake my opinions. Dismiss my recommendations as ‘baby sister babbling.’ My mother filters my speech, threading out my passionate discourse by labeling it as nonsense that will never attract a good Latino one day. My father cannot hear me. He is far away. Forever locked in the moist tropical earth of Colombia beneath an old Catholic church. No one sees me either. My high school teacher failed to notice my absence one day. Then my absence the next day. Then the next. She did not see my empty school chair. She did not want to know where I was. That I was here, in the factory, next to mama and Juanita and Rosa and all the others, sweating through a ten-hour day to earn two dollars per hour pressing buttons on a big machine that swirl hot colorful liquids together that smell so syrupy sweet and then cool to make such a disgusting candy that no one but Americans can tolerate to eat.…My words burn within me like boiling cauldrons. At night, when I rest on my small bed next to the window, I sleep without sleeping. I see words in my mind, dancing, flashing, twirling, dipping, and diving like sultry salsa dancers. I feverishly put them together to make wonderful stories that dazzle. Sometimes, I write them down and give my scribblings to Señor Pedro. The old shopkeeper is good to me. He tucks them away in his makeshift vault so as to save them for the day when fortune greets me and I am whisked me away to the university in Chile to gain culture and become famous and rich. I laugh at Señor Pedro’s dreams for me. But inwardly, I relish the thought of using my prose to bravely reveal secrets. Dangerous secrets of the Colombian government, of fanatic warlords and of my father's untimely demise.
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